An earlier study of chronic bronchitis in a rural community of the Hill Region of Nepal using Medical Research Council criteria showed a high prevalence rate that was more or less equal in the two sexes. Most of the women in the study population are exposed to domestic smoke caused by wood and straw fires used for cooking and heating purposes in the ill ventilated houses without chimneys. Data from 1375 individuals were analysed to determine whether there was any relationship between domestic smoke pollution and chronic bronchitis. Exposure to domestic smoke was assessed according to the average time per day spent near the fireplace. The association between chronic bronchitis and cigarette smoking was confirmed. In female nonsmokers and smokers and past smokers of both sexes crude and age adjusted prevalence rates for chronic bronchitis were significantly associated with increasing exposure to domestic smoke. In the living conditions existing in the rural Hill Region of Nepal domestic smoke pollution is an important contributing factor in the development of chronic bronchitis.
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